Diary, 4/27 to 4/30/2019

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Tricorne on skull
Tricorne on skull

{4/27/19}  Weight 221.6.

So I went to Reading Cinema to see Avengers:  Endgame.  I wanted to see it in IMAX, so I arrived an hour early in the hope of getting a decent seat.  I ended up in “row B,” which is not decent seating, though it was passable.  Before the show I sat at a table in the lobby and got into conversation with one “Pablo,” an old guy also attending solo.  I’ll call him “Pablo2.”  We agreed on just about all things Marvel, and in talking about Avengers:  Infinity War I had a brainstorm and said, “Thanos could have just doubled the number of planets.”  Pablo2 thought this a brilliant idea that he hadn’t heard anywhere before.  I don’t know about that…it seemed pretty obvious (though it took me a year to come up with it, I suppose).  We agreed to meet at the table after the movie.

A:E was less spectacular and more character-oriented than A:IW, but still spectacular and a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the twenty-movie series.  In “row B” I was too close to the enormous screen, but it interfered very little in my enjoyment.  Captain Marvel had a disappointingly small role, and also a disappointingly small haircut (i.e., very short).  My guess is they’re prepping to reveal her as a lesbian, which I think would be very cool, because I like women, too (a bon mot I stole from someone).  This isn’t much of a review, but you don’t need me for that.  I gave Pablo2 my phone number and urged him to call me when he’s in town and wants to see a movie.

I’m writing this at Barnes & Noble in their “Café.”  In Word, I type “é” by a macro assigned to Alt-e.  For unknown reasons, this keyboard assignment had been lost, making me think that others will also have been lost.  This happens repeatedly at lengthy intervals and is always very annoying.  I find that Alt-s works…

At B&N I bought a book, Johann Hari:  Lost Connections:  Uncovering the Real Causes of Depressing—and the Unexpected Solutions.  Hari is noteworthy for his research on addiction.  Or, that’s what I thought—actually he’s a journalist.  I also bought three magazines:  Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, which Chomsky often references; The Progressive; and Skeptical Inquirer.

 

{4/28/19}  Weight 223.2.  What?!

My legs can save me, or they can kill me.  I’ve been thinking about this for several days; it’s a recognition that the health and strength of the legs is a great part of bodily health, and a recognition that I need to get on that trike so I can eventually get on a bicycle and use the bicycle as my main transportation, and so “save my life.”

That’s the theory.  The practice so far doesn’t measure up.

I have another theory:  it’s very easy to change yourself and your life, or practically impossible.  If I decided to, I could buy all my new books through Barnes & Noble instead of by mail order.  There would be no strong tendency to buy from Amazon ever again.  But trying to lose weight, now that’s tough.  I thought there was more to say about this, but I guess there isn’t.

My review of Avengers:  Endgame was stingy and I don’t intend to add to it.  But I wanted to say that the entire sequence of movies is an astonishing accomplishment on a scale and of a quality I don’t hope to see exceeded in my lifetime.  This is a work for the ages that won’t be to everyone’s taste, obviously, as Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung is not to everyone’s taste, but of those persons one can only shake one’s head in sadness at “their loss.”

 

{4/29/19}  Weight 223.6.  This is alarming.

Yesterday on the bus a scruffy-looking man was speaking loudly, haranguing the passengers with talk of Jesus and the Bible.  He was wearing a tricorne, apparently of gray vinyl with a skull and crossbones on the back, and had a large cardboard with writing on it as panhandlers use.  Anyway, he was persistent, as these people generally are, and finally I’d had enough and said to him, about as loudly as he had been speaking, “Why don’t you stop talking.”

He responded in some fashion, and I went on to say that it was annoying and nobody wanted to hear it.  Then I addressed the passengers and said, “Does anyone want to hear this man?  Raise your hand, please.  Anyone?  No?”  With that I was done, and tried to settle my jangled nerves.  He didn’t stop talking and didn’t directly address what had happened, but changed the subject slightly to Beelzebub (which he said was Spanish), some other names for the devil, and finally settled on Satan.  None of the half-dozen passengers responded in any way.

I had never done this kind of thing before, and possibly never will again, though I am glad that I did it.  Reading in Johann Hari’s Lost Connections just now I came across this, attributed to Joanne Cacciatore:  “we’re [sic] such an utterly disconnected culture, we just don’t get human suffering.”  (p. 43)  Now, in a sense I “connected” with the lecturer, or tried to; and I recognize already that Hari is probably correct about the causes of depression, which he calls “disconnection” of various types.  I certainly am disconnected in many important ways, and I am somewhat depressed today.

I turned off the TV early because I’m rather sick of talk of Trump and news and insoluble problems.  And I am disgusted with my inability to find a group in Bakersfield that is working for the common good.  Certainly my Meetup group is sputtering, with only seven joiners.  I’m ready to pull the plug on that and just wait for the Democrats to open an office or something.  I don’t know…there was nothing on Bakersfield.com.  All I can do is keep looking.

Talked to J yesterday about the possibility of our getting a place together.  There are many difficulties, but I enjoy talking to him.  I’m dubious that anything can come of this, especially because I don’t want to live in Bakersfield.  Is Frazier Park a possibility?  J seemed to welcome the idea.  [Meaning living together, not FP.]

 

{4/30/19}  Weight 221.6.  Back to normal?

I got up saying, “If I’m ever going to ride the trike, today is the day.”  I had that feeling yesterday, too, but it was raining, so I chickened out.  Today it’s 8:00 am and I’m sitting here sort of dreading it.

My closest potential destination is the golf course which is about five times as far away as home was on 3/9 when I bought the trike (and had to stop four times while riding it home).  So I don’t hope to ride to the golf course today.  There is also a library about as far away as the golf course, but the routes to it are less appealing because they involve larger streets.

The distances involved are less than the distance I rode my misbegotten bicycle, which ended in the collapse of my left leg and sitting in the street, unable to get up.  I bought a tricycle in the hope of avoiding such an ignominious end.

I’m off—wish me luck.

Either I had luck, or I didn’t need it, because I’m back after forty minutes, having ridden further than I would have anticipated, but only about half the way to the golf course, if that.  The tiger I had anticipated turned out to be, not a paper tiger, but a tiger kitten.  That is, I had to stop maybe six or eight times altogether, okay, maybe ten, to rest, but otherwise it went very well.  My legs now feel weakened, but alive, not that they ever felt dead.  Can I do this every day?  Not bloody likely.  But at least the ice is broken.  The brakes need a little work, but, happily, no tires were flat.  I can do this, which I never really doubted; the only question was, would I?

One annoying aspect of working up a modest sweat is that I often get an outbreak of hives, as I have right now:  on the inside (distal?) surface of both arms, from mid-forearm to shirt sleeve cuff.  Perhaps wearing a long-sleeved shirt would keep this from happening, but why would I want to wear a long-sleeved shirt when anticipating working up a modest sweat?  Don’t answer that.

An early reading experience came to my mind last night, Jacque Barzun’s Berlioz and His Century.  I didn’t finish that moderately long book fifty (?) years ago, but last night I browsed through Edward T. Cone, ed.:  Berlioz:  Fantastic Symphony, and although I found it moderately interesting, I was looking at it to decide if I wanted to keep it, and I guess I don’t.  But I may read a little more…

Apparently, Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump have come up with an infrastructure plan.  Thom Hartmann criticizes P&S for increasing the likelihood of the reelection of our #Unpresident.  Hartmann says that, as a result of this criticism, people may accuse him of being “a partisan hack.”  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I usually, or have always, agree(d) with Hartmann, but not this time.  If people get good jobs out of this, which is what will be claimed, then it should be done.  Let’s just hope they build something other than freeways and power plants.

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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